How to be less judgemental of others (and yourself!)
Do you feel you’re always criticising and judging everyone, yourself included? Do you feel bad about it afterwards? You’re certainly not alone! Read on to discover how you can judge less and start to accept things the way they are.
Why do we judge others?
We all make judgements about others; it’s part of human nature. We judge people as soon as we meet them, based merely on their appearance, their clothes and their manners. The problem is we don't really know them at all.
We also pass judgement on those we do know. They do or say something that upsets us, and we feel disappointed or angry with them. We don't try to understand their actions: we just think worse of the person.
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Why do we judge ourselves?
Judging ourselves against others is one way in which we establish our identities, for good or bad. We may judge our self-worth based on how our attractiveness, intelligence and wealth compare to others. Self-criticism often stems from a lack of self- confidence and anxiety. Bach Flower Mix 44 is formulated to drive away fears while supporting positive emotions and self-belief.
Instagram and Facebook bombard us with glamorous images. But in a way, this is just stage dressing, and we can never know what’s really going on behind the scenes unless we know the person well. Judging ourselves against others who appear more successful, prettier or wealthier is a sure way to suffering anxiety and stress.
We make social judgements about ourselves because we are not completely happy with who we are. It might not be possible ever to be 100% satisfied with ourselves, (and we’d be pretty smug if we were!). However, rather than criticising ourselves, it’s better to self-assess. We can decide how near we are to being the person we want to be without comparing ourselves to others.
Learn how to judge less
While it’s human nature to judge others, it’s not always helpful to us to do so. Being judgemental doesn’t make us happy. These tips will help you to judge less and be more accepting.
1. Walk in their shoes
When you find yourself passing judging someone because of what they’ve done or how they look, imagine their backstory and the circumstances that might have caused them to act that way. Picture yourself walking in their shoes. Instead of instantly labelling them, try to communicate with them and find out their story. You’ve probably had similar experiences and can remember how they affected the way you felt and acted. Trying to understand someone is the first step towards acceptance.
Once you’ve tried to understand, then just accept. The world is what it is, and most things are beyond your control. Once you’ve acknowledged that you’re unlikely to be able to change the situation, you can stop feeling frustrated, inadequate, angry or envious and can start to move on from these negative feelings.
3. Be curious
Be curious and live your life as fully as possible. Packing in as many new and exciting experiences as you can will crowd out self-criticism and leave little room for judging others.
4. Avoid universal judgement
Just because you’ve judged a person as lacking a particular skill, don’t fall into the trap of applying this assessment to all areas of their life. Nearly everyone is better at some things than they are at others: if a person is a poor communicator, they might be great at maths and vice versa.
5. Observe rather than evaluate
We need to distinguish between evaluations (judgements) and observations. Evaluations that we make when judging yourself are just opinions, such as “I’m foolish”, or “I can’t motivate myself”. The same applies to our evaluations of others: “He’s doing that all wrong” or “She was very rude to me”. Rather than evaluating a situation, say what you see and express your own feelings regarding the situation. For example, “I’m cross because she pushed to the front of the queue”.
This pause for reflection allows you to judge the action, not the person. Pushing to the front of the queue is a rude action, for sure, but perhaps the person thought they had a good reason for acting in such a way? As the old saying has it, judge the sin, not the sinner.
Can we ever be non-judgemental?
The judgements we make about others are an unavoidable part of life, but we can all learn to be a bit less quick to judge others and ourselves. Developing new habits and a more positive way of looking at the world will take time and practice, but it’s well worth it as it will make your life happier.
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